Offshore wind is officially underway off the coast of Massachusetts.

In the waning moments of Tuesday, January 2, 2024, power was delivered from the Vineyard Wind project to the New England grid for the first time.

Not only was it a major step forward for the 806-megawatt project, which is located 15 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, but it was also a major win for New Bedford, where much of the staging is happening for the offshore wind industry off the New England coast.

“I congratulate Vineyard Wind on this important, hard-won milestone, demonstrating yet again that offshore wind in America is real, and that the Port of New Bedford well-suited to support the industry,” New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “This is a great way to kick off 2024.”

At 11:52 p.m. on Tuesday, one turbine delivered approximately five megawatts of power. According to Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid, Inc., additional testing is expected both on and offshore in the coming weeks.

“The project expects to have five turbines operating at full capacity early in 2024,” according to a release.

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey called it an “historic moment for the American offshore wind industry.”

“This is clean, affordable energy made possible by the many advocates, public servants, union workers, and business leaders who worked for decades to accomplish this achievement,” Healey said. “As we look ahead, Massachusetts is on a path toward energy independence thanks to our nation-leading work to stand up the offshore wind industry."

The local delegation also touted it is a success for the wind industry and for the SouthCoast.

“New Bedford has invested a great deal of its time, energy, and manpower into supporting the successful launch of the offshore wind industry in Massachusetts,” said State Representative Tony Cabral (D-New Bedford).

“As a community that understands the power of the ocean better than most, with this first transmission of power from the Vineyard Wind I project, that commitment and long-term vision has been realized,” he said. “We are, once again, ‘the city that lights the world’ and look forward to more turbines coming on-line as this collaboration between public and private partners energizes the next chapter in New Bedford’s maritime development.”

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“We’re thrilled that the first power from the Vineyard Wind Project has made its way to the Massachusetts grid,” said Representative Christopher Hendricks (D-New Bedford). “This is a monumental victory for climate mitigation; not just in New Bedford and Massachusetts, but the country too.”

“We now can realize the investment that Massachusetts has made in offshore wind to yield tangible results in the form of real electrons,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

It was also recognized as just the first step in what will be a years-long commitment to alternative energy.

“This is a wonderful story, however it is truly just the beginning of a tremendous story to come,” said Representative Christopher Markey (D-Dartmouth).

Vineyard Wind began offshore construction in late 2022 after signing the first Project Labor Agreement for an offshore wind project in the United States in July 2021.

Once completed, 62 wind turbines will generate 806 megawatts of power, enough for more than 400,000 homes and businesses.

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Gallery Credit: Ariel Dorsey

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